Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Raising A Toast To Corporate Master Chef's Delhi Edition!

There is no love sincerer than the love of food. I got to witness the same late last month at Select Citywalk, Saket which was the venue for the Grand Finale for the latest season of the Delhi Chapter of World On A Plate's Corporate Master Chef.

Focussed on the theme of getting corporates to juggle culinary nitty-gritty in the gastronomic arena leaving behind their desk jobs for a while, The Corporate Master Chef is a crowd puller wherein luminaries from the food world act as stern critics to choose the best among the best and crown the winner who is at the top of their game in the kitchen.

This time around, model-turned-actress-turned chef and 'Mummy Ka Magic' fame Celebrity Chef Amrita Raichand had been roped in as the brand ambassador and to judge the fourteen finalists for the Delhi edition of the contest.

With summers in full swing, the Grand Finale was kickstarted with a refreshing recipe from Chef Amrita's hat that featured a healthy twist to Tabbouleh, a Lebanese Salad, in the form of the addition of core ingredient and pseudo-grain Quinoa, and king of fruits, Mango.

Touted as a Superfood (along with Chia) by the Central Food Technological Research Institute, Quinoa is a powerhouse in terms of being a treasure house of low glycemic load carbs and Zinc, which is present in trace elements in the human body.

When I asked her if she ever had any blunder dish with Quinoa, she expressed her views on the same captured in this snippet.

While the masterclass with Chef Raichand was full of anecdotes to master the perfect salad recipe, the hearts of the finalists were set racing when it was revealed that a preliminary round featuring teams of three to four contestants each would help in the elimination of three teams to deciding the final three or four contenders that would compete amongst themselves to be bestowed the title of The Corporate Master Chef.

The teams were given a half-an-hour timeline to present their creativity and skill on the plate while keeping the limelight on India Gate Quinoa as a core ingredient. Though the rain gods had a role to play in intercepting the conduction of the final, Chef Amrita quipped that she cooled Delhi down to a certain extent!

Being the advertorial face of companies like Whirlpool since her modeling days, Chef Amrita has been known as the Yummy Mummy with her nutrition-centric recipes at Mummy Ka Magic, especially for children. More so, with her son Agastya being at the center of her world, culinary and otherwise.

Moreover, with a TedX talk to her credit, and a Youtube Channel, Being Amrita - Chef and Beyond, it was wonderful to see Chef Amrita in action too, at the event.

Chef Amrita also mentioned her connect with cooking to be the strongest thanks to her mother and Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and the fact that she could create so magic with so many ingredients.

Speaking about her experience judging the Grand Finale for Corporate Master Chef, Amrita applauded the enthusiasm displayed by the contestants. Also, she mentioned her upcoming venture to be 'Punjab De Super Chef' to be televised on PTC which had her touring the entire state of Punjab over a fortnight or so while relishing the dishes prepared by home cooks - each being a Super Chef in their own right.

On the whole, The Corporate Master Chef finale was held successfully at Select Citywalk and Delhi had a winner adjudged by Chef Raichand with a pat on the back. :)

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Re-hydrate, Replenish, Recharge As Coca-Cola's Motto!

Coca-Cola is one of India's leading beverage companies that has just recently tapped into new avenues of Enhanced Hydration and Nutritious Dilutables by introducing Aquarius GLUCOCHARGE and Minute Maid Vitingo into the beverage industry in line with their endeavor to provide a spectrum of consumer-centric beverage choices along with functional benefits made available across various segments of consumers. 

Aquarius GLUCOCHARGE, as the name suggests, is packed with Glucose, essential Minerals (Potassium, Sodium, Calcium) and fruit juice. It has been developed exclusively for Indian consumers who toil in the heat which in turn creates a need for instant rehydration to overcome bodily exhaustion.  This non-carbonated, low sugar beverage with fruit juice is priced at a nifty value of INR 10 for a 200ml serving. 

On the other hand, Minute Maid Vitingo has a special formulation focused on addressing micronutrient deficiency and malnutrition in India. Fortified with Iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Zinc, Folic Acid, Vitamin B2 and Vitamin B12, it is available in single serving sachets of 18gm priced at INR 5. Regular consumption of Vitingo has been clinically tested to significantly reduce Iron deficiency, Anaemia and Vitamin C deficiency among children. 

Citing their winning formula as based on the four pillars of being low-calorie and affordable, while providing great taste brought to the table in safe packaging, Mr. Ishteyaque Amjad, Vice President, Public Affairs and Communication, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia was delighted to launch both the products. 

Speaking at the launch, Mr. T. Krishnakumar, President, Coca-Cola India, and South West Asia, said  

“In time for the peak summer, the launch of Aquarius GLUCOCHARGE and Minute Maid Vitingo marks our entry into the space of Re-hydrate, Replenish and Recharge. These enhanced and nutritious beverage options have been developed specifically for the Indian consumers to suit their needs of enhanced and nutritious hydration. 

The company is embarking on a program of incubation to develop a strong portfolio of choices for the Indian consumer. This would help the Coca-Cola system to build itself a consumer-centric portfolio for the future. To build a higher brand recall and awareness for the beverage, the company will conduct extensive sampling across the country. 

We have been actively focusing on our strategy to offer consumers a wide variety of choices as per their preferences and going ahead, incubating new products and scaling it up through our system would be key to our success.  

While Minute Maid Vitingo aims to be a part of the solution to malnutrition that the country is solving for, we are equally committed to making Aquarius GLUCOCHARGE a mass distributed brand in next eight months. Our reshaped portfolio will further accelerate the growth momentum and help us deliver enhanced business results.” 

The strategic extension of the portfolio is in-line with Coca-Cola’s journey towards being a Total Beverage Company, which is centered on building an increasingly diverse consumer-centric portfolio of brands attuned to unique consumer preferences. The launch of new products also adds another milestone to the company’s focus on ‘fruit circular economy' enabling farmers to increase their yield, source pulp and launch fruit-based products.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

#SmartForLife Entertainment With iFFALCON...

Last week was all about witnessing a game-changing move in the entertainment industry aided by technological advancements. 

With the launch of an India-centric smart TV brand iFFALCON its exclusive association with Flipkart, TCL Multimedia, one of the top-three TV manufacturers in the world has made a home run here in the capital city. 

Also on showcase at the launch were TCL also showcased two smart TV offerings, iFFALCON 55K2A powered by Android 7.0 Nougat and iFFALCON F2, at the launch event. 

With an aim to upgrade the home entertainment experience for viewers across the country by providing seamless access to their choice of entertainment, whether online or offline and operating at the intersection of high-quality content, smart technology, and powerful hardware, iFFALCON has adopted a consumer-centric tactic to provide the most enriching entertainment experience to its users by delivering the ultimate audio and visual spectacle. 

TCL’s renowned vertically-integrated manufacturing capabilities ensure that everything – from backlight and module to display, set, and panel – is produced in-house to meet and exceed global quality standards backed by the proven manufacturing prowess of TCL-owned CSOT Technology, a world-leading enterprise in display technology that ranks fifth globally for LCD panel shipments. 

Heavy investments in advanced technologies such as 5G, big data, and artificial intelligence made by TCL enable iFFALCON to provide users with direct access to personalized content. Through its robust partnerships with leading content providers such as Jio Digital, Netflix, Google Play Movies & TV, Youtube, ErosNow, Yupp TV, and Flickree. 

iFFALCON also offers its customers with a rich and diversified content library for a more immersive entertainment experience. Its unique brand proposition is further augmented by its robust sales channel integration with Flipkart, one of India’s leading online marketplaces. 

Speaking on the launch, Mr. Tony Guo, Global CEO – FFALCON Technology, said, “With the demand for smart home entertainment solutions in India growing at a rapid pace, the country’s smart TV market is in need for more technologically-evolved offerings. The launch of iFFALCON smart TVs will fulfill this need-gap. We are bringing the latest entertainment technology to India for fulfilling iFFALCON’s brand promise of enabling an ‘Incredible Smart Life’ for every customer.”

Mr. Harry Wu, GM – TCL Multimedia Overseas Business Center, said, 

“With iFFALCON, TCL is further strengthening its leadership position in the India market. Our long-term vision is to bring the latest entertainment technology to the Indian youth and become the go-to brand for smart products. The launch of iFFALCON will help us achieve this aim.”

Mr. Ajay Yadav, VP, Flipkart said, 

"We are committed to bringing the best in class technology products for customers to constantly keep them excited. Our exclusive partnership with iFFalcon, by TCL, offers a range of TVs that ensure an immersive experience backed by the latest in entertainment and technology. We are confident TVs from TCL would be another best seller on Flipkart, while we continue to be India’s most trusted destination for TVs" 

With actress Neha Sharma as the face of iFFALCON for consumer appeal, the brand has undoubtedly sealed the deal. All set to go on floors at leading e-commerce portal Flipkart on May 7, iFFALCON surely has a great run here in India to look forward to. 

Sunday, 22 April 2018

A New Me With #DefinitelyPTE...

When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable. 

Clifton Fadiman hit the nail on the head with this quote of his, and I am not sure whether he the same perspective in mind that I do but this statement fits like a puzzle piece in the jigsaw of the higher education or professional pursuance scenario.

Come to think of it, settlement in foreign lands is certainly not a piece of cake, more so in the nascent stage, even if one sets foot on non-native land by virtue of learning or career.

Migration is not an alien concept to mankind, given the fact that our lifestyle today stems from a nomadic beginning that delved gradually into long-term settlement ever since the stone age.

The scenario hasn't changed much, even today, since the reasons for such an exodus are largely attributed to individual want for an enhanced standard of living coupled with the unsaid yet prominent manifestation of an enriched culture.


While overseas education is very much the 'in-thing', it is the 'behind-the-scenes' action that an individual's peers often overlook as spectators. The move is often viewed as an element of pride to be boasted about in circles more often than not, by one's immediate relatives. However, it is the preparation for the switch that is sapping on more fronts than one for a person who firmly decides to 'just do it'.

A similar fate unfolds for an individual who attempts to sap foreign lands for liquid gains on the professional front, be it a short-term or long-term avenue.

It is a commendable decision nonetheless, to let go of the homeland, even if for a few years at a stretch for the aforesaid forks in the road.


More often than not, it is a steadfast positive attitude that makes the journey smooth-sailing. Being capable of adjusting to peculiar situations not only provides strength to the character but also enhances the world-view perspective. 

After all, life begins where the comfort zone ends and exploration of the self begins when one is subjected to unfamiliar terrains, is it not? 

Given the fact that self-reliance leads to self-realization in such a scenario, it comes as no surprise that distance makes the heart grow fonder. 


While zeroing in on the subject of specialization and the institute of interest is itself an insurmountable task, accustoming oneself to the variation in student culture (and otherwise also)
is also no child's play. 

On the other hand, most of the application processes are also intellectually taxing in terms of drafting a Statement of Purpose and ensuring that all relevant documents are in place for the most part. 

To add to these is the woe of ascertaining a dependable source to finance one's scholarly sojourn. 

As if these weren't hurdles aplenty, the elephant in the room - passport validities and associated visa applications - are yet to arrive. 

To top it all, deducing the nitty-gritty of student accommodation in a foreign land is no mean feat if that were to be a consolation at all! After all, you can't call it a day within the four walls of a classroom, can you? 


Unless you've devised your way of coping with the absence of home-field advantage (read homesickness), keeping a diary entry provides a seasoned way to preserve memoirs of that half-a-decade adventure, as well as facilitating a means to cope with sudden emotional outbursts. 

On the other hand, the culture shock can be coped with to a certain extent, thanks to the thriving presence of social media, is it not? After all, being prepared is key. 

While we feel that we are going to find a pot of gold at the end of each rainbow, the reality presents a stark contrast as patience would be of utmost importance to balance most, if not all aspects. 

After all, devising a fresh routine in accordance with a brand new time zone can take a few practice sessions. :)


However, the most effective means to bridge the gap on all fronts in life is, you guessed it, communication. As much as we may resent it, English is a foreign language for us, Indians. As a result, it is the most critical avenue to master before stepping out in the sun. For, if you're not careful enough, you'll be burnt to a crisp for sure. 

While TOEFL and IELTS take precedence as the most prevalent and popular English Language Tests across the globe, the folks at Pearson India have attempted to ease the hassle to a certain extent by professing #DefinitelyPTE - a smart alternative for students and professionals alike - to manifest their proficiency in the English language on a global platform.

In accordance with the norm for competitive exams in the nation, PTE Academic (short for Pearson Test of English Academic) is a single, three-hour, computer-based test that assesses candidates on the four pillars of the language - namely -  Speaking, Writing, Reading, and Listening - in three parts with twenty question types, coupled with an optional scheduled break of ten minutes. 

Backed by data forensics of the likes of palm vein scanning, coupled zero bias towards the background of test takers, and an accurate and consistent test score curve, it is #DefinitelyPTE all the way as PTE Academic emerges as an English Language Test of choice for aspirants. 

With a wide recognition sphere across the globe as far acceptance for study applications by institutions worldwide is concerned, Pearson India scores on this front as an increasingly viable option. Be it Asia, Europe, America, or Australia, #DefinitelyPTE is gaining greater acceptance by the minute. 

In order to aid familiarization towards the test pattern, Pearson India has also made available a means for the best immediate study material for the same. With a variety of preparation packages at their disposal, students have one less reason to fret over. :)

While the scored practice tests are a direct indication of an aspirant's readiness for the test, thus enabling them to decide when to take the giant leap towards their dream course or job, the means to registering for the test is also as seamless as the experience of the test itself, with registration rendered open for up to 24 hours in advance either over phone or the world wide web. Moreover, tests are held for over 360 days a year, up to five days a week, with multiple time slots daily. 

Assessed on a granular scale of 10-90, providing a detailed breakdown of performance based on skills, the scorecard presents an accurate assessment of a test taker’s proficiency. What's more, results would be made available typically within five business days via the score report module. Students can further submit their scores (valid for a period of two years) to an unlimited number of varsities. 

While there is no dearth whatsoever of test centers over the globe with over fifty countries in the offing, a few prominent and prestigious institutes that accept scores awarded by PTE Academic are Stanford University, Imperial College London, University of Canberra Australia, University of Illinois Chicago, Tokyo International University Japan, and Harvard University. 


On the whole, it is of the essence to remember and constantly remind oneself that the power of the purpose must be greater than the pain we experience along the journey. For it is a mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. :)

P.S. All embedded visuals have been credited to Pearson PTE

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Women Of Substance At Mrs. India Worldwide 2018...

Haut Monde India is a brand name known in the high-end luxury arena and has gradually over the past decade, under the aegis of Shri Sai Entertainment, diversified into the realm of beauty pageants.

The Orientation Programme for the 2018 edition of Mrs. India Worldwide was held this weekend in Delhi NCR. Open to married women across the globe, Mrs. India Worldwide is a platform for such beautiful ladies (both on the inside and out) to achieve the maximum out of their untapped potential as a professional in the glamour industry.

Haut Monde India's Orientation for the same saw a gathering of a hundred selected contestants from all over the country under one roof, thus kickstarting their journey of self-belief and empowerment.

Boasting of a premier panel of groomers who are going to embark on a mission for overall personality development, the 'Crown Chasers' for the 2018 edition of the pageant will have a number of positive takeaways from the wholesome experience.

Some of the most sought-after names in the industry including celebrity hairstylist Sylvie Rodgers, choreographer Liza Verma, nutritionist Ruchika Sodhi, skincare specialist Dr. Omer Azad, style expert Shaine Soni, and smile specialist Dr. Geetanjali Verma have been associated with Mrs. India Worldwide as grooming experts ever since its inception by Haut Monde, in 2010.

Sharing her expectations from contenders, Sylvie Rodgers said she was on the lookout for the totality in each of them, enhanced with a dynamic personality and the right attitude. On the other hand, Liza Verma wanted the ladies to retain their simplicity and focus while immersing themselves to learn from the pageant on the whole. While Ruchika Sodhi quipped that her eyes were going to be on their plates, Dr. Geetanjali Verma had the mantra of 'Learn, Improve, Imbibe' to offer.

Also present at the occasion were the Title Holders of the previous season, including Winner Neha Deshpande, who hails from Pune, who all had their experience from a contestant to a winner, to share with the enthusiastic new crop.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Bharat K. Bhramar, Founder, and Chairman, Haut Monde India Group, said,

"Our objective of this event is to empower married women and provide a unique, central, and progressive platform that allows them to harness their talents and unleash their potentials. In the 7 years of Mrs. India Worldwide, we have helped our contestants in bringing out the best in them through our grooming sessions."

Reminiscing her experience with the pageant, Winner 2017, Neha Deshpande had this to say, while emphasizing the need to put in a hundred percent effort from each of the contenders.

"I remember being one of the contestants a year back, looking at the crown and keeping complete faith in my hard work and principles. As the orientation for the this year's Mrs. India Worldwide took place in Delhi, I feel excited to be a part of this institution that believes in bringing out the true beauty that lies within. Passing on the baton to one of the lucky three women from the hundred lovely finalists. 10,000 entrants from all over the country and abroad made an effort to be a part of this esteemed pageant. I wish them all the very best in their endeavors and hope they keep the flame of this legacy shining brightly."

A marked difference from the previous season is the selection of 100 contestants as opposed to 55 in 2017 and a trip to Greece this year as opposed to Vietnam with training modules to be held to carve the confidence in contestants to become the most suitable candidates for the pageant.

The grand finale for Mrs. India Worldwide 2018 will be held at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the capital in the month of September.